KJ: I said no to Zahid's offer of Umno No 2 post in 2018

PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin says Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi offered him the deputy president's post in 2018.

However, Khairy said he turned down the offer, made before the 2018 Umno elections, as the former Youth chief believed that the party leadership should change.

At a Concorde Club meeting on Monday (Feb 6), Khairy also said his concerns about the present party leadership were not new.

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"We should have a clean slate, to something fresh in order to offer hope not just to party members, but also voters," added the former health minister.

Khairy said he had consistently called for change since 2018.

"We didn't really think that we were on the precipice of this great defeat (in GE15 last year).

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"But there was a great reluctance within Umno for change and unfortunately with (my recent) expulsion, I have to close a chapter," he added.

Khairy, however, stressed that he remained loyal to the party despite being sacked.

"I want to find my way home to Umno one day. But certainly not with the present landlord," he said, referring to Ahmad Zahid.

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In 2018, Ahmad Zahid was elected as the 8th Umno president after receiving votes from 99 divisions.

Khairy and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who challenged him, obtained 61 and 30 votes respectively.

On Jan 27, the Umno supreme council sacked Khairy and former supreme council member Tan Sri Noh Omar.

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It also suspended several senior leaders for six years, including former senior minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, former party information chief Shahril Hamdan, former Youth exco member Datuk Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahya, former Johor state exco member Datuk Maulizan Bujang, and former Jempol MP Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Mohd Shariff.

The Concorde Club is an informal group of editors and senior journalists meeting with politicians and key policymakers.

Previous guests of the Concorde Club, led by Star Media Group advisor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, include Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Transport Minister Anthony Loke and senior adviser to the PM Nurul Izzah Anwar.

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